WordPress Lodging Websites – The Secret to Our Not so Secret Sauce

One of the most important decisions hotel and resort owners face is how to choose the infrastructure for building their websites. For the best success, we recommend sites be WordPress lodging websites. WordPress is a content management system (CMS) which allows people to create websites and blogs on an easy to manage platform and integrates with many online services like e-Newsletters, Google Analytics, online forms, etc. Simply put, WordPress is the ‘not so secret sauce’ that you need in your recipe for success. Wordpress logo

What is WordPress? 

WordPress is a relatively easy way where users themselves can blog and post content. Think carefully here; the Internet is a global phenomenon that is never ending. WordPress powers over 27% of the entire Internet, from Fortune 500 companies to celebrities and social media influencers. If that hasn’t won you over yet, the features and benefits of WordPress are, like the Internet, never ending.

What we find works best is when lodging property owners team with us to create their properties’ websites. As WordPress-skilled designers, we understand the tools and have the expertise to create a site that functions well, represents your property in it’s best light and converts lookers to bookers!

The flexible WordPress platform allows a team approach with each party performing the needed tasks to build a successful site. From strong content about a given property and it’s many recreational assets to top notch attention-getting design, the build can be performed well with an all-hands-on-deck approach. Or you can just leave most of it to us. The choice is yours.

Custom features like simple forms for users to fill out like Concierge requests and special requests help ease guest management. A few simple forms that allow property staff to publish blogs, specials and reviews can also work well to ease the time constraints that hoteliers all face. Why fight a system when you can just fill out a targeted form for this type of repeatable entry?

The CMS allows users to connect social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to their website to increase engagement with potential guests. Many other integrated services help ease the steps in publishing fresh content consistently and is limited only by the imagination. With WordPress, even the smallest of businesses can create websites that can compare to multi-billion dollar organizations. Wordpress connectivity

But Why?

To put it in simple terms, WordPress is the key to our success at Social Energizer, LLC. The WordPress open-source platform allows us to build beautifully designed websites that can be affordably hosted and managed. WordPress sites are assets to business owners and live on in perpetuity supporting their businesses. Instead of recreating the wheel every few years, WordPress sites can be simply redesigned, updated and the foundation built upon, strengthening the site as years go by. In contrast, other website builders often become obsolete and are not ‘Real’ (as in real estate) investments. The value of your WordPress site can be factored into the value of your property upon sale (really). You ‘own’ it.

Now the technical stuff. WordPress is a huge success because it is optimized for SEO or search engine optimization. This means that WordPress helps you make your website easier to be found by search engines like Google, an absolute necessity when constructing and maintaining a successful website. In our blog, Google Mobile, Goodbye Desktop – Hello Mobile Ranking, we discuss the importance of businesses being found on mobile optimized websites or websites that your customers can use on their cell phones or tablets. WordPress is making our lives easier and creates responsive websites that work on desktop computers, smartphones, and everything in between. Another win for WordPress!

Fun for the Hotelier

Clearly, WordPress is beneficial and something that every business should be utilizing for the websites. For hoteliers, reaching Wordpress graphpotential guests and being able to integrate social media onto your websites is an absolute must. WordPress can do this for you, and so much more. Property Management Systems can be integrated into WordPress that allow for consumers to book stays at your hotels and lodges right on your website, just the way it should be. The tourism industry is booming and to stay in the game and to be leaps and bounds ahead of the competition, websites are necessary, and WordPress is key. If you have questions about WordPress or would like to convert your hotel or lodging website to a WordPress site, contact us at Social Energizer, LLC., we would love to help!

2017 Digital Trends for Hoteliers -Must Read!

The New Year welcomes a clean slate for new goals and aspirations for the year to come. These 2017 digital trends are key to upping your game in the hotel and lodging industry this year! 2017 is looking to be an exciting year in Wisconsin’s hotel and tourism industry and here are some of the helpful ideas and digital trends that are sure to get you noticed.

Domestic Travel

 The independent lodging industry is in for a treat in 2017. Domestic vacationing is one of the hottest trenSunny Country Road Sceneds of the year, and what an ideal trend for the hotelier! Travel agents in the United States are expecting to see an increase in domestic travel in 2017.  This means that your hotels, resorts and lodges could see increases in travelers staying at your properties, so how do you prepare? The first thing to do is realize that domestic travelers are looking for quick and easy trips. This means that weekend packages are going to be a hit. Partnering with local business to create packages to offer your guests, or offering incentives for booking at your hotel or lodge are two cost efficient ways to bring travelers to your hotel. Offering these in your website and integrated into your booking engine will help convert this coveted type of booking. Give it a try!

Look the Part 

Keep in mind that the website for your lodging property isn’t the only place that travelers are seeing who you are. Online travel agent websites such as TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Kayak are great places to get your hotel or lodge noticed by travelers. When your hotel or lodge is featured on an online travel agency site, there is a chance the traveler might not make it to your website before booking your hotel. What does this mean? It means that hoteliers need hedge their bets by looking their best on all websites promoting their hotels. Be sure to update and add recent professional photos to your online travel agency websites as well as your own website! Hoteliers that actively add current photos to their online travel agency sites saw increases of 138% in customer engagement. A simple task with a great return! By consistently updating photos to your own websites and to your booking agents’, the customer engagement can only rise.

Get Found

So your hotel can be found on a physical map but there is an even better way to get your hotel found by a huge potential client base. Google likes to rank websites based on their SEO (search engine optimization) rank, or the specific keywords that are used on your websites to get it noticed. So how do you get your property’s site noticed and found on the Internet? The first thing to do is Finger Pointing on a Mapto continue maintaining your website. Keeping your website current and updated will help you maintain control of what the customer sees when they visit your site. Next, you need to continue adding good solid content to your website. This means blogging about things that interest your guests and updating the content that is on your site. A helpful hint when blogging and adding content is to be as specific as possible! This means that instead of saying ‘hotel’ you will want to say ‘hotel in southern Wisconsin’. The more specific you are, the better luck you have of a search browser indexing your website content. The last key item to remember in regards to getting your website found is to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology. Updating your website to include the newest technology will only benefit your website when Google’s crawler visits and then decides who has earned the top spots on their search pages. If you can do these things to your website you are sure to see improvement and have guests finding you online.

Be Mobile

We warned you, the mobile era is here and there is no way to avoid it! In our blog Google Mobile, Goodbye Desktop—Hello Mobile Ranking, we talked about the importance of optimizing desktop websites so they can be easily accessible and user-friendly on mobile devices. One of the big trends for hoteliers to be aware of in 2017 is how the user utilizes both the desktop and mobile websites when booking. Travel agents are finding that nearly 90% of travelers jump back and forth from desktop to mobile websites when booking, making it critical for both mobile and desktop websites to operate with ease. What does this mean? The first thing to do is to ensure you also have a mobile-ready website for your hotel. Mobile-first design has actually taken over in priorities over desktop. Sites that are designed responsively, like the ones we create, do that mostly by default –and in tandem. That said, some final tweaking will still be needed make sure everything looks attractive on all devices and proper content is optimized for each.

By understanding these trends and maximizing this knowledge, hoteliers will start the 2017-year on a very strong foot! Interested in implementing one or more of these strategies? Give us a call, we’d love to help you with that.

Resources and recommended blogs: Words of VikramHotelMarketing.com

Google Trips – Organize Your Travel Easily

Google is continuously coming out with new technologies that make communication and organization easier and more convenient. Being organized and having a plan is vital to productivity in the workplace and when traveling, too. Enter Google Trips.

In mid September, Google launched a new travel app called Google Trips, which helps the everyday traveler and business professional alike when they are away from home. The app focuses on planning and organization, something that is right up my alley and something I needed to try.

I downloaded the app on my iPhone and it prompted me to sign in to my Gmail account. The next thing I know, a reservation popped up in my Google Trips app for an upcoming trip that I had planned. Google developed the new app to work with Gmail, taking any reservations from your inbox and putting them into your trip-planning app, pretty convenient and so easy to setup!

After downloading the app, I was playing around with the different tiles and instantly noticed what a great business opportunity was available for hoteliers and business establishments in towns big and small. The app is set up to plan activities for the area that you are visiting, taking any information from Google and incorporating it into your stay. For businesses that don’t understand the need to promote themselves through Google services like Google My Business this app is a great reason to get listed! Don’t have a Google My Business account? Check out our earlier blog, Independent Hotel and Resort Google Guide, on how and why you will want to set one up!

Just by being on Google, the app creates endless exposure for small and large businesses, here is an example.

After I checked in at the hotel and stopped at my room, I needed to find somewhere to eat. The only problem I had was that I hadn’t been to the area before and I wasn’t sure of what places were open or for that matter what was around me. I opened Google Trips and clicked on the food and drink tile to see what my options were. In just two seconds there were tons of places to go, all organized and categorized to make my search easier. Each recommendation has reviews and the hours of operGoogle Trips Mapation with a brief description of what you can expect for the environment and for the food.

I chose a local restaurant that I hadn’t heard of before to support local businesses instead of chains. While I waited for my meal, I picked out a café for coffee that next morning and I planned a few other restaurants that I wanted to visit before going home. The app allows you to “star” or save places that you enjoyed, or that you know you want to visit while on your trip. I added the café and a few restaurants to my saved places and then browsed around in the things to do tile.

In a matter of minutes, Google Trips provided me with tons of different local restaurants and café options. This was just one tile, the app allows you to look at local activities, shopping centers, small family owned and operated stores, you name it. Google Trips is just one benefit of promoting businesses on Google My Business. It will allow businesses to gain exposure and to increase traffic and business by bringing out of town guests to your establishment.

The Influence of Mobile Purchasing on Travel

The infographic below summarizes the behavior of mobile purchasing on Travel based on mobile users in the UK. This demonstrates why lodging managers should be checking to see how their websites and online booking engines appear on mobile devices -particularly tablets.

Here are the key findings on mobile travel purchases from Tnooz.

“The study also shows how key pricing is, with price comparison sites coming top in mobile travel activity and a quarter saying they make a purchase based on price.

Brand preference and price were given as the top two reasons for making a purchase with a third saying they already had a brand in mind.

More details are handily displayed in the infographic below but here are a few highlights:

  • Almost half of mobile travel searchers make a purchase with about a third completing it on their mobile device
  • 31% say they plan to purchase within a day while 60% say within a month or longer
  • Most mobile travel searches are conducted for flights (81%) followed by hotels (67%)
  • 55% of travel searchers say they are researching a planned purchase
  • More mobile travel research is conducted while at home – 83% for tablets and 46% for smartphones”

Mobile Infographic for travel

Nielsen surveyed 1,500 smartphone and tablet users for the study as well as drawing intelligence from its Smartphone Analytics Panel of 6000 Apple and Android users.

And just for fun, I’ll add this infographic in from last fall on mobile purchases within the US  from Business Wire.

Infographic for mobile travel purchases